SPIE Career Center

Light Express Coordinator

Pearl John
Light Express Coordinator, University of Southampton, UK

How do you spend a typical day?
I don't have a typical day! Some days I visit schools and run holography workshops for students aged between 13 and 19, and on other days I give lectures in schools with a traveling Laser Light Show (www.lightexpress.soton.ac.uk). I also help design our marketing materials, teach Foundation Year students and produce posters and activities for schools.

What (if anything) would you change?
I wish that I had studied physics in greater depth at school, and I wish I had more time for my holographic art work. Otherwise I am extremely grateful for the very exciting job I have. I feel very lucky to love what I do.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career?
I am not sure whether you mean "educational career" or whether this is for someone who is just leaving university, but I would always say "Go the extra mile and show initiative." If the advice is for a younger person I'd say "Be very brave, contact people who do a job that interests you and ask whether you can do job shadowing or work experience for them." And if it's advice for an older person I'd say network through your professional organization and remember that only 50% of jobs get advertised. I've always got jobs through alternative means. Approach someone you want to work for and show them how you show them how you could help them.